The NFL announced it will expand communication between the league’s officiating department and on-field referees during playoff games.
Mark Maske of The Washington Post first reported the news.
The change allows NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino and the NFL officiating department to assist officials during the game with issues including monitoring the down, the game clock, penalty yardage and “any other matter not currently reviewable.” Currently, league officials are only in contact with officials during replay reviews.
Consultation between Blandino and officials will not include calling or changing fouls or any other on-field judgment calls not subject to the current instant replay system and rules. The vice president will operate in a supporting role and stay out of reviewable plays.
In the playoffs, when only one game is being played at a time, league officials can now focus all of their attention on assisting with game administration.
The full release is below, as shared by NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
The change comes during a season when officials have been highly criticized for a number of missed calls. It would theoretically eliminate the possibility of an error like the one committed in the game between the San Diego Chargers and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 13, when 18 seconds incorrectly ran off the clock at the end of the game.